Semifinals set at South American Club Championship


Silmar Antonio 'Pia' de Almeida of Personal Bolivar tries to get past the UPCN San Juan block in the Argentina classic at the 2017 South American Club Championship in Montes Claros.

Lausanne, Switzerland, February 24, 2017 - Defending continental champions and reigning world champions Sada Cruzeiro Contagem comfortably sailed past Bohemios Montevideo 3-0 (25-17, 25-12, 25-12) to complete the semifinalists of the 2017 Men's South American Club Championship in the Minas Gerais city of Montes Claros.

Sada Cruzeiro coach Marcelo Mendez seized the opportunity to rest his regular starters ahead of Friday night's semifinal, giving the chance to the likes of youngsters libero Vanderson Malta, middle blocker Pedrao da Silva and opposite Alan Souza to stand out. Alan was top scorer of the game with 15 points for Sada Cruzeiro and Lucas Mendez top-scored for Bohemios with 5 points.

Earlier in Montes Claros Thursday night Personal Bolivar dominated the Argentina classic against UPCN San Juan 3-0 (25-19, 25-23, 25-19). This means Bolivar finish top of Pool B and avoid the defending champions in Friday evening's semifinals - though they still need to overcome the obstacle of hosts Montes Claros Volei.

It also sets up a rematch of the 2012, 2014 and 2015 finals between Sada Cruzeiro and UPCN San Juan. The Brazilian side won the first two of these finals 3-1 (19-25, 25-18, 25-17, 28-26) and 3-2 (23-25, 23-25, 25-20, 25-19, 18-16) before UPCN clinched the title in 2015 with a 3-2 (25-21, 25-18, 17-25, 21-25, 16-14) win. The two clubs also met in last year's semifinal, which Sada Cruzeiro summarily won 3-0 (25-22, 26-24, 25-16).

2017 South American Club Championship semifinals:
- Sada Cruzeiro Contagem (BRA) v UPCN San Juan (ARG)
- Personal Bolivar (ARG) v Montes Claros Volei (BRA)
Earlier Uruguay champions Bohemios will play Peru champions Unilever Lima for 5th place.

The winner of the South American Club Championship get a direct ticket to the 2017 FIVB Volleyball Men's Club World Championship next December in Poland.

Looking ahead to the semifinals, Sada Cruzeiro opposite Evandro Guerra who has played in the past in Argentina for both Bolivar and UPCN summed up the situation: "I have already played together with several players of the two Argentina teams who are very competitive," said Evandro. "They defend a lot and are very skillful in attacking, find the gaps in the opponent's block. We need to have a very consistent serve, because their reception is very solid. If the serve works, we will be able to take advantage of our blocking and counterattacking."

Also Thursday evening in Montes Claros, Unilever Lima beat Bolivia champions San Martin Cochabamba 3-0 (25-13, 25-13, 25-16) for a chance to fight for fifth place in the tournament. Jhoser Contreras led Unilever with 17 points. San Martin captain Edson Perez scored 8.

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